The History of Won

Dictionary

The History of Won-Buddhism (Wonbulgyo Kyosa)

Part 2. Founding of the Order

Chapter 5. Completion of the System of the Order

5. The Functioning of the Head Circle Council

The first version of the Rules and Regulations of the Buddhadharma Research Society stipulated that the Head Circle Council was to be an advisory organ to the Head Dharma Master and prescribed one item for resolution. However, the new version of the Won-Buddhist Constitution stipulated that the Head Circle Council would be the highest advisory organ to the Head Dharma Master, and prescribed five items for resolution, thus constitutionally expanding the functions of the Head Circle Council. This marked the beginning of the Head Circle Council as the pivot of the ten-member group edification.
The first formation of the male Head Circle Council, of the early period, and the dharma Confirmation were described earlier. With the passing of Pak Secheol in Won-Buddhist year 11 (1926), Yi Dongan joined the Council while Song Doseong, Jeon Eumkwang, and Jo Kabjong were informally designated to stand proxy for Yi Sunsu, Pak Dongguk, and Yu Keon, but later they were appointed as the official members in February Won-Buddhist year 16 (1931). In March of that year, the Female Probationary Head Circle Council was established, but did not function until later. In Won-Buddhist year 20 (1935), with the passing of Kim Kicheon, Yu Heo-il joined the Council and in Won-Buddhist year 24, when Kim Gwangseon passed away, Pak Daewan was appointed the new position. In Won-Buddhist year 26, after Yi Dongan`s passing, Seo Daewon joined the Council. In April Won-Buddhist year 28, through the reorganization of the Head Circle Council, Yi Wancheol became a member. At that time, the members of the Female Head Circle Council were informally designated by Sot`aesan. With Sot`aesan as Chief, Iltawon Pak Sihwa (with Kim Yeingsin as her proxy) took the position of Keon Yitawon Jang Jeokjo (with Jo Jeonkwon as her proxy), the position of Kam Samtawon Choe Dohwa (with Jo Ilsil as her proxy), the position of Kan Satawon Yi Wonhwa (with Seo Daein as her proxy), the position of Jin; Otawon Yi Cheongchun (O Jongtae as her proxy), the position of Son Yuktawon Yi Dongjinhwa, the position of Yi Chiltawon Jeong Sewol, the position of Kon Paltawon Hwang Jeongsinhang, the position of Tae; Gutawon Yi Kongju, the position of Center.
In June of that year (Won-Buddhist year 28, [1943]), through the reorganization of the Head Circle Council, after Sot`aesan`s passing, Song Hyehwan joined the Council. In Won Buddhist year 29, with the demise of Yi Jaecheol, Kim Daekeo also became a member. On January 25th, with the inauguration of the Female Head Circle Council as a functioning organ, the five proxy members gained official membership. Thereby, the main members of the Male Head Circle Council and the Female Head Circle Council were equipped with a practical, functioning structure based on the rules and regulations of the Order. Later, in April Won Buddhist year 31, the eighth supplementary organizing of the Male Head Circle Council took place. This was followed by a substantial reorganization in the male and female membership in April Won Buddhist year 38. This was accomplished in the first general election in the second term since the founding of the Order.
In April Won-Buddhist year 39 (1954), Head Dharma Master Chŏngsan instructed the Head Circle Council and the Association of Ordained Clergy to "strengthen further the authority and functions of the Head Circle Council making it the pivotal entity of governance". This was sufficiently reflected by a constitutional amendment in Won-Buddhist year 44 (1959). In May Won-Buddhist year 54 (1969), the Office of the Head Circle Council (with Kim Yunjung as the first secretary-general), whose role had previously been played by the Department of General Affairs, was independently established, through which the system of subdivision and that of expert advisors were set in place. This enabled the Head Circle Council to evolve into the Order`s highest voting and governing organ, both in theory and in reality. From the start of the second term to the half-a-century commemoration ceremony, there were 4 general elections and 3 occasions of supplementary reorganizations in both the male and female membership, respectively.